Can’t-miss debut books you should read this February

Every month, Debutiful selects can’t-miss books from debut authors that readers will loveYou can find more recommendations here.

The In-Betweens by Davon Loeb (February 1; West Virginia University Press)

Loeb’s memoir is awe-inspiring tour of race, sexuality, identity, and culture. Throughout the book, he dances to a slow, beautiful ballad on every page. His story will move any reader, but it’s the craft of his work that truly shines. His writing shines.

Purchase a copy at

Brutes by Dizz Tate (February 7; Catapult)

Dark and beautiful instantly come to mind when thinking about how to describe the teenage girl friendship in this book. Dark and beautiful also describes Tate’s writing. It explores coming-of-age in such new and unique ways. Brutes will mesmerize you and catch you off guard with how accurate yet unpredictable it is.

Purchase a copy at

Maame by Jessica George (February 7; St. Martins)

A story of a woman caught between two cultures, George explores the complexities of culture, family, and sense of belonging in a lighthearted yet poignant way.

Purchase a copy at

What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro (February 7; Riverhead)

Nnuro insightfully explores what happens to a family and the individual when we follow our dreams. At the center of this majestic novel are two siblings from Ghana. One moves to America and achieves great success and one stays home, stuck in a world he doesn’t want to live in. Napoleon is a moving novel that expertly dissects what makes us tick.

Purchase a copy at

Never Far From Home by Bruce Jackson (February 7; Atria)

This memoir does not pull punches. Page after page, Jackson peels back layers of his upbringing to highlight how his family and circumstances shaped who he became as a man. It’s a striking exploration into poverty, criminal justice, and hope.

Purchase a copy at

The Applicant by Nazlı Koca (February 14; Grove)

A tense and tender book about being a woman, being an immigrant, and being someone still figuring it all out. Koca’s prose is electric and transcendent. The Applicant is an unforgettable novel.

Purchase a copy at

My Last Innocent Year by Daisy Alpert Florin (February 14; Henry Holt)

What was it like to be graduating college and stepping out into the real world when the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal broke? This is a riveting coming-of-age novel about a young woman in that exact situation. Many people have captured what it’s like on a college campus, but this has entered the pantheon of campus novels. Florin’s book is a frontrunner for novel of the year.

Purchase a copy at

Hourglass by Keiran Goddard (February 14; Europa)

This is a novel of short, fragmented, stream-of-consciousness passages that are sexy and thought-provoking. Goddard is an exceptional poet and that translates to this debut novel.

Purchase a copy at

Welcome Me to the Kingdom by Mai Nardone (February 14; Random House)

Three families are at the center of this debut set in Bangkok. The characters and settings crafted by Nardone are memorable, realistic, and nuanced. Weaving through the lives of the characters is a treat. This book feels lived in.

Purchase a copy at

Sink by Joseph Earl Thomas (February 21; Grand Central)

A fearless debut that will change your life. I read this in one sitting and it moved me in ways I couldn’t imagine. Thomas moves through brutal moments and uplifting ones with grace. It is a memoir that should be taught in writing classes from now until the end of time.

Purchase a copy at

A Country You Can Leave by Asale Angel-Ajani (February 21; MCD)

Tania James (The Tusk That Did the Damage) said this novel “shattered me with its pain and sweetness.” It’s about a fraught mother-daughter relationship where the two must rely on each other to survive.

Purchase a copy at

Wolfish by Erica Berry (February 21; Flatiron)

This is the story of a legendary wolf as well as a chronicle of Berry’s own life. Using the mythos of wolves as the backbone of a way to explore multiple topics, this is a book unlike any other. It is a surprising and powerful read.

Purchase a copy at

One thought on “Can’t-miss debut books you should read this February

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s